Curdled milk

PIE *twer
Gloss: ‘curdled milk, curds’ (item 125 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations: Rus. tvaróg ‘quark’; Gr. τῡρός ‘curdled milk’; Ved. tuvara- ‘astringent’, Av. tūiri

Attestations only pertinent for the Graeco-Aryan and Slavic branchings, this produce term nonetheless appears to be reconstructable for late or late middle PIE. On the somewhat discontinuous semantics in Vedic, it may be noted that Middle Indic continuations retain the meaning ‘cheese’ (Turner 1966: 336). A case for an internal verbal derivational basis has not been satisfactorily posited (cf. Mallory & Adams 1997: 382f.). The phonetic structure is void of phonemes that represent the telltale developments of the pertinent dialects, and a wanderwort phenomenon cannot formally be excluded; the modern English word quark is similarly assumed to have traveled from Slavic through Middle High German.

External comparanda:
North Caucasian: *ˀV-twVr– ‘to become rolled up, turn sour, rot, putrefy’ > e.g. Archi tar-as ‘to roll up (of milk)’

Discussion: A North Caucasian origin of this term, as suggested by (S. Starostin 2009: 102) seems rather attractive as a technical term that emanated from the Caucasus, where the verbal derivational basis is transparent. The prefix here has to be discarded to fit the IE attestations, but this seems a minor problem; verbal roots normally interact more extensively with prefixes than nominals do (cf. Nikolayev & Starostin 1994: 82ff.). The possible linguistic fixpoints allow for a very concrete chronological hypothesis: The item likely departed from North Caucasian and entered either late PIE or, alternatively, differentiated IE languages still in close contact, and lastly reached the Germanic languages through Slavic.


PIE *ker̂ -(ker̂ -)
Gloss: ‘chickpea’ (item 67 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations: Lat. cicer; Alb. thjer ‘lentil’; (?)Gr. κριός; Mac. κίκκεροι; Arm. sisəṙn

Notes: De Vaan rejects the Greek comparandum as a chance resemblance and tentatively posits the verbal root *kerh3– (2008: 113). The widespread reduplication points to an old phenomenon (Greppin 1981: 6f.), and the Greek form, if connected, may thus be a simplified variant. The distribution is very centralized in the circum-Pontic area, especially the Balkans, which may provide lexical evidence of an ancient Armenian presence in that particular region (cf. Solta 1960: 331f.).

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *qarhV

Discussion: Dolgopolsky bases his loan trajectory (PIE → NC Caucasian) on paleobotanical arguments (1989: 16), but the linguistic side certainly does not warrant a reconstruction for PIE. A similar root is visible in NW Caucasian with the meaning ‘pea’, and a pan-North Caucasian phenomenon is substantiated by similar items in all branches, of which Abkhaz and Kryts show reduplication (Mikić & Vishnyakova 2012). A further comparandum is suggested in Burushaski gərk ‘peas’ and thus shows hallmark signs of a wanderwort scenario. A reconstruction for PIE looks more like an example of biased science than a valid inference of the scattered and inconsequent IE data, unfortunately prompting an indefensible conclusion on directionality.


PIE *gwher-nu-
Gloss: ‘millstone’ (item 28 in Bjørn 2017)

(?)Toch. B kärweñe ‘stone’; Welsh breuan; Goth. qaírnus ‘mill’; OPrus. girnoywis; OCS žrŭny; Arm. erkan; Ved. grávan- ‘stone for pressing soma’

The noun is traditionally derived from *gwher– ‘heavy’, and despite some controversy to the provenance of Tocharian it seems best reflected within this bulk (Adams 2013:176); this evidence is accompanied by the question whether ‘millstone’ is a narrowing of original ‘stone’ (Winter 1998: 351) or a broadening of the inherited ‘millstone’. If, indeed, Tocharian represents the second (known) branching of ancient PIE, the former hypothesis seems natural, and consequently preferable.

External comparanda:
Semitic: *gúrn-u ‘threshing floor’ > e.g. Ugaritic grn (examples in Tyloch 1975: 57)
North Caucasian: *χIwĕrV ‘mill, m.’ > e.g. Ingush ħajra ‘mill’, aha ‘to mill’

The Semitic loan etymology is defended by Dolgopolsky (1987: 16 and 1989: 6) and Takács (1997: 374) for their phonetic similarity, while Mallory & Adams (1997: 474) and Diakonoff (1985: 128f.) ascribe the similarity to sheer chance. The latter addresses the semantic gap between an IE ‘millstone’ and a purported Semitic ‘threshing floor’, which may only be bridged through the dialect semantics of Arabic ‘mortar’ (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 770f.), but without similar variation in the ancient Semitic languages, this meaning is most probably innovated and without consequence for the present inquiry. Thematically the implement, or facility, belong to the agricultural package and should, if viable, be considered within that same context. All things considered, the Semitic comparandum requires a difficult semantic drift, especially for a purported technical loan, that renders chance resemblance the favorable option. Otherwise semantically attractive is the case for a North Caucasian connection, where a native verbal root seems to constitute the derivational basis for the implement (S. Starostin 2009: 96f.), which is a point of criticism with Matasović (2012: 290). Such a connection would, however, render the PIE system folk-etymologically associated with the root for ‘heavy’ and possibly separate Tocharian from the stock, rendering a transfer into late or late middle PIE the most likely scenario.


PIE *bhar-(s-)
Gloss: ‘barley’ (item 2 in Bjørn 2017)

Lat. fār; (?)OIr. bairgen ‘bread, loaf’; Goth. bariz-eins ‘of b.’; OCS brašĭno ‘food’, Rus. bor ‘millet’; Alb. bar ‘grass’; (?)Gr. Περσεφόνη ‘Persephone (? = the grain-slayer)’ (PN)

It is noteworthy that a bare stem may also exist in Celtic and Slavic (Russian bor ‘millet’) next to the somewhat more prolific extensions. The inclusion of the Greek deity is highly dubious (cf. Chantraine 1968: 889), and, even if accepted, would not introduce significant new evidence to the picture already painted by the more secure attestations. Lehmann proposes that the lexeme be internally derived from a verbal root (1986: 62), but the a-vocalism and the external comparanda treated immediately below demand that the possibility of foreign influence, at least, be entertained (cf. de Vaan 2008: 201f.).

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *bVrcị̌nV
NW Caucasian: possibly Adyghe ‘grain’, Abkhaz ‘id.’
Semitic: *barr-/burr- ‘cereal, wheat’

Some objections have been raised to the Semitic loan hypothesis, e.g. by Mallory & Adams who consider a borrowing ‘unlikely’ based on the morphology (1997: 51), while Diakonoff’s rejection of the claim, based on its putative isolation in Semitic (1985: 126f.), has become mute in light of the fact that Orel & Stolbova (1995: 56) connect it to an almost ubiquitous Afro-Asiatic root, *bar-/bur– ‘grain, cereal’, which certainly advocates for Semitic (or related) origins. Gamkrelidze & Ivanov insist that the IE branches representing the item were in direct contact with speakers of a Semitic proto-language (1995: 770), but, as several other instances suggest (e.g. *ghaid– ‘goat’, item 21), the proposition of an agricultural
substrate, possibly even related to Semitic (§ 2.5), blunts the urgency of the claim. Note, too, that the semantic shift from ‘wheat’ or ‘cereal’ speaks against direct contacts. Dolgopolsky introduces the Caucasian comparanda, and questions a Semitic provenance on the basis of its simpler stem that lacks the *-s (1989: 15f.), but, as shown above, a similar IE variant could represent the original state only secondarily derived. The North Caucasian comparanda seems to reflect a higher complexity than either of PIE and Semitic, possibly hinting at greater antiquity, but, more likely, a window to PIE phonetics may be encountered here, seeing that there is a decent argument in the proposition that the desinence *-inV in North East Caucasian reflects the PIE derivational suffix *-in-o-, cf. Slavic *boršĭno– ‘flour’, Latin farīna ‘id.’, and probably also Goth. barizeins ‘of barley’ (ibid., cf. also S. Starostin 2009: 91 and further Matasović 2012: 291). This comparison is also favorable due to identical semantics. A tentative history of the term can thus be schematized as Afro-Asiatic > Semitic & Old European substrate → middle or late PIE → North (East) Caucasian.


Several items meaning ‘goat’ have external comparanda, four are included here. See also Kroonen (2012: 245-247):

PIE *díg-
Gloss: ‘goat’ (item 15 in Bjørn 2017)

OHG ziga; Alb. dhi ‘fem. g.’; Gr. (Hes.) δίζα; Arm. tik ‘hide’; Ishkashimi (East Iranian) dec ‘goatskin bag’

Notes: The Greek form is problematic and requires either a glide to palatalize the velar, or, as has been suggested, the form in Hesychius, originally ascribed to Laconian, may rightfully be attributed to one of the lesser known IE Balkan languages, Thracian or Illyrian (Frisk 1960: 390ff.). All the data combined, this reconstruction still fails to paint the picture of a central PIE item, although proto-status certainly is possible.

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *tVqV > e.g. Ingush tɨqo
HU: Hurrian taɣə ‘man (male person)’
Kartvelian: *dqa > Georgian txa, Svan daq

The IE material does not seem to be particularly strong and lacks cognates in the decisive ancient branches. Proposed as a borrowing by Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995: 774) and Nichols (1997: 146), the exact nature of the reconstruction in Kartvelian is debated (cf. Fähnrich 2007: 125), but the Northeast Caucasian material does help establish the form in the region. The semantics of the Hurrian material questions its appurtenance, but a final rejection pends further illumination of the internal relationship. Ultimately, this item belongs in the very same category as the synonyms (items 21, 40, and 73, cf. § and be ascribed to a loan into the later strata of PIE.


PIE: *ghaid-o-
Gloss: ‘goat’ (item 21 in Bjørn 2017)

Lat. haetus ‘young g., kid’; Germ. *gait- > ON geit, Goth. gaits.

The connection of the Latin and Germanic forms seem beyond reproach, but remain isolated as a European regionalism. a-vocalism similarly makes a PIE origin of this item unlikely (Dolgopolsky 1987: 16).

External comparanda:
Afro-Asiatic: Semitic *gadi-̯ > Arab. jadyun, Heb. ge𝛿ī
Afro-Asiatic: Berber aġăyd
NE Caucasian: Proto-Nakh *gāʒa, Lak gada ‘kid’

The Semitic and IE correspondence is difficult to ignore, but whereas Dolgopolsky considers it a direct loan from Proto-Semitic into PIE (1987: 14), Kroonen proposes a (likely extinct and unattested) third party origin for both, ultimately stemming from waves of early agriculturalists that first introduced the term to Semitic and later into European IE from an already present adstrate (2013: 163ff.).The dearth of proper PIE evidence affects both theories, but less detrimentally the latter. Nichols’ analysis of the NE Caucasian forms as old dialectal borrowings due to the internal inconsistencies (1997:129) seems to
corroborate the adstrate hypothesis; it is noteworthy, however, that Nikolayev & Starostin reconstructs a Proto-NC *gēʒ́wV that would remove the Caucasian item from comparison with PIE and Afro-Asiatic. It seems callous to posit the root for PIE proper and invites further inquiry into the ancient relations of European IE and its agricultural prehistory (cf. *h1ln̥bh– ‘lamb’, item 36, for a similar correspondence between Germanic and NE Caucasian).


PIE *h2e(i)ĝ-
Gloss: ‘goat’ (item 40 in Bjørn 2017)

Alternant 1: *h2eiĝ-
Attestations: Alb. dhi; Gr. αἲξ; Arm. aic; (?)Ved. eḍa– ‘kind of sheep’, Av. īzaena- ‘leathern’

The Vedic form requires analogy to fit the picture, but seems plausible (cf. Mayrhofer 1986: 264). Attestations only warrant reconstruction for late PIE.

Alternant 2: *h2eĝ-
Lith. ožýs; OCS azno ‘goat-skin’; Alb. edh; Ved. aja-, Av. aza-

The homophonous verbal root *h2eĝ- ‘to lead’ (item 43) has quite naturally been
suggested as the derivational base, but the likeness to (1) complicates this connection (cf. also Mallory & Adams 1997: 229). This form also brands cognates in Balto-Slavic, but still fails to secure the decisive old branches for ancient strata.

External comparanda:
North Caucasian: *Hējʒ́u (cf. *ʡējʒ́wē of NCED s.v. ‘goat, she-goat’)

The variant forms within (P)IE do suggest a foreign source, which, indeed, may
be found in North Caucasian, as suggested by S. Starostin (2009: 80 fn.8). This is certainly also suggested by the phonological compositions that are close to being superimposable, especially on reconstruction (1) with the diphtongue. The second reconstruction may under this paradigm be explained as either stemming from folk-etymological analogy with the homophonous verbal root *h2eĝ– ‘to lead’, or as the natural yet inconsequent treatment of a foreign sequence in (P)IE (cf. Matasović 2012: 290 fn.16). Further phonological confusion is encountered if PIE *h2egw-no- ‘lamb’ (item 45) is considered a derivative to the present form.


PIE *kaĝo-
Gloss: ‘goat’ (item 73 in Bjørn 2017)

Old Low German hōken; OCS koza; Alb. kedh, kec ‘kid’

Very limited distribution questions ancient PIE moorings for this item. Connections with PIE *h2e(i)ĝ- (item 40) are formally impossible (cf. Mallory & Adams 1997: 229). The reconstructed a-vocalism is noteworthy.

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *qoVcV > e.g. Lezgian ʁec

The Slavic forms may, according to Derksen, be borrowed from a Turkic language
relatively late (2008: 242), ostensibly within the first millennium CE. S. Starostin proposes this Northeast Caucasian connection (2009: 81), but the formal correspondence is not very attractive.


PIE *h1ék̂w-os
Gloss: ‘horse’ (item 32 in Bjørn 2017)

HLuw. azu(wa), Lyc. esbe-; Toch. A yuk, Toch. B yakwe; OLat. equos; Gaul. epo-; ON jór, Goth. aíhwa-; Lith. ašvíenis ‘stallion’; Myc. i-qo, Gr. ἳππος; Arm. ēš; Ved. áśva-, Av. aspa

Only the Slavic and Albanian branches miss this lexeme, and the horse can safely be ascribed to the earliest strata of PIE on internal evidence alone, despite Dolgopolsky’s attempt to discredit the inherent nature of the Anatolian forms (1993: 240). The root gives valuable insights to the intricacies of the velar series with the co-occurrence of the palatal *– with the labial element *-w-: While satəm languages retain the independence of the labial element, basically [+pal] + [+lab], the centum languages fuse the phonemes into one, [+vel, +lab], and subsequently follow the rules governing the inherited labiovelars. The Greek forms remain, although clearly related, problematic, probably reflecting some kind of dialectal borrowing (Beekes 2008: 597f.), although Sihler suggests that at least the geminate may be a regular outcome of the inherited palatal-labial cluster (1995: 159f.). Internal derivation has been proposed from a root ‘swift’ attractive due to a common Graeco-Aryan collocation, ‘swift horses’, Gr. ὠκέες ἳπποι, Ved. áśvāḥ āśávaḥ, but the connection is formally difficult (Mallory & Adams 1997: 273), if not impossible (Beekes 2008: 597f.).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: e.g. Georgian ačua (children’s language)
North Caucasian: *ɦɨ[n]čwĭ
NW Caucasian: *cʷ̣̌́ ǝ > e.g. Abkhaz, Ubykh ačy (pl.)
NE Caucasian: Avar, Lak ču, Akhvakh ičwa, Andi iča, etc.
HU: Hur. eššǝ

The domestication of the horse represents a central pillar in Anthony‘s archaeological location of the PIE speakers on the Pontic Steppes (2007: 193-224), and intense and selective exploitation of the horse was widespread from around 4.500 BCE in the region from southern Ukraine through to Kazakhstan (Mallory & Adams 1997: 273ff.). It is thus noteworthy that Uralic did not borrow the PIE word. A common Proto-North Caucasian reconstruction has been posited, *ɦɨ[n]čwĭ, without convincing internal derivation, although the authors do not explicitly make the connection with PIE (NCED s.v. ‘horse’). Such a reconstruction, however, gives depth of time comparable to PIE, and invalidates Colarusso’s intricate and very idiosyncratic analysis of NW Caucasian and PIE with the aim of uniting the phyla in Proto-Pontic (2003: 41ff.). The Hurrian form is proposed as a loan from the satəm Mitanni-Aryan superstrate that brandished a particularly specialized equestrian vocabulary, especially owing to the assibilated geminate (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 809). A similar origin has been suggested for Semitic, cf. Akkadian sisū and Ugarit ssw (despite confounding factors, cf. Militarev & Kogan 2005: 261ff.), Sumerian sí-sí (Sahala 2009: 10), some NE Caucasian languages (Dolgopolsky 1987: 19) as well as Abkhaz (Mallory & Adams 1997: 274), but these latter can just as well be explained from the bulk of Caucasian attestations treated below. According to Nikolayev & Starostin the sporadic Kartvelian forms can be ascribed to intra-Caucasian loan relations (NCED s.v. ‘horse’), and are thus considered secondary and beyond the scope of the present paper. The evidence presented by Dolgopolsky to substantiate the entry into Caucasian languages as an early Proto-Indo-Iranian loan rests solely with the palatal treatment of the internal velar in the Daghestanian dialects (1987: 19), but the argument is mute because palatals are reconstructed for PIE and there is no evidence to suggest that a proposed Proto-North Caucasian recipient language would not have treated them as such (§ Indeed, if horses were a trademark of ancient PIE culture (predating the split of Anatolian) with concomitant mercantile prowess, and the PIE speakers interacted intensely with the North Caucasian linguistic area at an early date, it is very likely that the ‘horse’ represented a sufficiently valuable item to be transferred from PIE and subsequently thrive in the Caucasus (cf. Matasović 2012: 291). Tantalizing both in the initial laryngeal PNC *ɦ– to mirror PIE *h1– and the internal sequence of palatalized velar plus labial glide, the only aberrant element in the North Caucasian stock is the nasal found in the Lezgian branch of NE Caucasian (reconstructed *ʡɨnšʷ [~ħ-], see NCED s.v. ‘horse’), but the circumstances are internally unclear. Alternative solutions, albeit less attractive, are chronological adjustments either (1) further back into prehistory and approaching Nostratic, or (2) later as a dialectal PIE loan, as suggested by Dolgopolsky (1987: 19).